ACV- In this comprehensive yet concise guide, we go over the most crucial information you’d want to know before you consider adding it to your diet.
For centuries, apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been used as a potent home remedy and for culinary purposes. In recent times however, it has made a resurgence in health and fitness circles toting a wide variety of medicinal capabilities ranging from improving skin health to aiding weight loss. As such, it is currently the most popular type of vinegar in the natural health community.
Hippocrates is widely referred to as the father of Western medicine. The oath named after him remains a rite of passage for medical doctors across the globe. He also happens to be one of the first high profile medical practitioners to avail of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV), in his case, for the treatment of wounds.
What’s In Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?
The initial substrate for ACV is apple cider or juice. Adding yeast to it ferments the fruit sugar into alcohol. Afterwards, bacteria is added to turn the alcohol into acetic acid. This is the primary component of apple cider vinegar and is responsible for ACV’s strong smell and infamous sour taste.
Furthermore, as the main active compound in ACV, acetic acid is actually responsible for much of the health properties of ACV. That said, there are several other bioactive components in apple cider vinegar, mostly vitamins and minerals. It has very little if any carbs, lipids (fats), or proteins and delivers only 3 calories per tablespoon (15 grams).Find out more about the nutritional content of apple cider vinegar on the USDA website.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar?
Be instrumental in weight loss
In recent years, this has become one of the most commonly known benefits of using cider vinegar. ACV’s ability to aid in weight loss owes to two main factors.
- It increases satiety (makes you feel full) [Source]. This in turn makes you eat less food [Source].
- It enhances metabolism (rate at which your body burns calories).
A study by Japanese researchers found that daily use of vinegar led to an appreciable decrease in body weight, BMI, waist circumference, visceral fat area, and levels of serum triglyceride [Source].
Maintain safe blood sugar levels
The active component in ACV—acetic acid—is an antiglycemic agent. In layman speak, it counteracts the accumulation of excess sugar in the blood [Source].
Also contributing to the antiglycemic properties of ACV is its dietary fiber content. One study concluded that intake of two tablespoons of cider vinegar before bed reduces blood sugar level by morning [Source]. Similar lower blood sugar results following vinegar intake were observed in two other studies [Sources 1, 2].
In addition to reducing blood sugar levels, vinegar consumption can reduce insulin levels [Source]. A study concluded that apple cider vinegar significantly improves insulin sensitivity amongst individuals with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance [Source].
Improve cardiovascular (heart) health
Acetic acid and polyphenols such as chlorogenic acid are effective in lowering the levels of bad LDL cholesterol while simultaneously increasing good HDL cholesterol.
A U.S. study found that participants who ate oil and vinegar-based salad dressing were at lower risk of developing ischemic heart disease [Source]. Animal studies have connected the intake of vinegar to reduced triglyceride and damaging VLDL cholesterol levels [Sources 1, 2].
Avert acid reflux
The sensation of burning pain felt at the lower chest area, commonly known as heartburn, actually occurs because stomach acid or bile flows back into the food pipe and irritates the pipe’s lining. The technical term for this is acid reflux—a fairly self-explanatory medical term.
When acid reflux episodes occur more than twice per week, it’s diagnosed as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GER or GERD). Regardless of the technical term, intake of ACV is known to mitigate acid reflux. One study found that participants with GERD who had apple cider vinegar experienced more than 75% reduction in acid reflux episodes [Source].
Additional cider vinegar health benefits in the GI tract and broader digestive system include:
- raising stomach acid content
- soothing intestinal spasms
Sustain healthy pH levels
Your body’s internals comprises fluids that sit on different positions on the pH scale. Sustaining the balance (fancifully called homeostasis) is crucial for life and ACV makes vital contributions to this end goal by:
- reining in on acidity to keep alkalinity at safe levels
- acting as an antioxidant, which in turn curbs premature aging and mops up free radicals (detoxification/guarding against oxidative stress)
That’s not all: There’s more truth about ACV
6.) It strengthens your bones
7.) It is therapeutic for arthritis as it relieves pain in the joints
8.)It helps keep blood pressure down [Source]
9.) It boosts kidney and liver detoxification, helps maintain proper functioning of the lymphatic system (the body’s special-purpose garbage disposal system)
10.) It helps boost energy levels by counteracting buildup of lactic acid which in addition to its enzymatic and potassium content help prevent fatigue
11.) It eases digestive conductions such as constipation or diarrhea. It is also effective in preventing bacterial food poisoning [Source].
12.) It has antifungal properties and is a well-known therapeutic agent for treating candida overgrowth [Sources 1, 2]. In addition, it has effectual antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It partly achieves this by promoting the growth of healthy gut flora.
13.) It reduces symptoms of varicose veins [Source].
14.) Although not directly, ACV can be preventative in curbing asthma as it is effective in ridding your home of visible mold.
15.) At the risk of overstating its anti-cancer capability, its ability to neutralize free radicals (thanks to its beta-carotene content) reduces the risk of cancerous growths that the radicals could otherwise had influenced [Source]
ACV has proven useful in treating warts, rashes, acne and pimples, sunburns, and as a facial toner or cleanser.
1) Dip cotton ball in vinegar
2) Apply directly on wart
3) Cover/fasten with a Band-Aid and leave it on overnight (remove in the morning)
4) Repeat until and after the wart falls off
Rashes Apply directly to poison ivy rashes to soothe inflammation.
It is also applicable for easing itching and irritation of bug bites and stings.
1) Mix cider vinegar, green tea, and honey
2) Apply as a face mask
Soak in a bath with one of cup of vinegar added
1) Mix cider vinegar and green tea or dilute ACV with two parts water (mix one tablespoon of ACV with two cups of water)
2) Apply sparingly to prevent breakouts and to make bruises fade faster
In general Apply ACV to the area of interest or soak in a bath with one of cup of vinegar added
1) Mix one-third cup of vinegar with four cups of water
2) Rinse your hair weekly with the solution to remove substance buildup and maintain healthy scalp pH level
1) Mix equal parts of ACV and water
2) Spray your scalp with the mixture
3) Let it sit for about an hour (wrap a towel around your head)
4) After which you wash out and repeat twice weekly
For oral health
1) Mix ACV and baking soda in a ratio of 2:1
2) Use a tooth whitening paste to remove teeth stains and resolve other forms of teeth discoloration
Bad breath Gargle the mixture
As a soothing aftershave;
Apply a solution of equal parts of cider vinegar and water
For pet care
To clean litter
To combat flea infestation. Spray a solution comprising equal concentrations of vinegar and water on the fur of your pet, saturate the entire coat, and rub it in generously. Repeat daily for about a week.
As a health tonic for a variety of reasons including bowel regularity, acid reflux, seasonal allergies, and cold relief; Mix cider vinegar with warm water
To reduce heartburn; Take one teaspoon of ACV after which you drink a glass of water
For persistent hiccups [Source]
As a laxative
To combat sinus congestion and other infections including relieving symptoms like sore throat and headache
For tenderizing meat
To wash fruits and vegetables
As a tonic
In baking to add extra lift
As a natural cleaning agent or local antiseptic
To neutralize odors, body and foot (apply as a deodorant) as well as room odors
To remove stains
Around The Home
As a weed killer
As a natural polishing agent primarily for silver, copper, bronze, and brass
Crucial Usage Tips
What type of apple cider vinegar should you get?
The two main varieties of ACV are non-organic and organic cider vinegar.
Non-organic (also called distilled white or sparkling clean) ACV is clear as it is sent through an extra pasteurization process. While it’s plenty good for cleaning and laundry, it wouldn’t offer the complete trove of health benefits shared above.
Organic (also called unprocessed, unfiltered, non-pasteurized, or raw) ACV should be your only choice. Unlike distilled vinegar, it is murky (or cloudy) owing to a cobweb-like suspension called the “mother.” This variant retains most of the probiotic and bioactive components responsible for the expansive benefits of ACV.
What is the recommended dosage?
Like most therapeutic substances we consume, ACV is not completely risk-free. Its acidity in relatively high concentrations can be harsh on your internals sometimes leading to a couple of adverse effects such as enamel erosion, low potassium levels, hypoglycemia, and burning of the throat [Sources 1, 2, 3, 4].
They may not be the severest of side effects, but they underscore the need to follow clear usage instructions for a specific application especially if you intend to ingest cider vinegar. Diluting apple cider vinegar before use is a universal recommendation. The only question is how much. Just as importantly, use in moderation.
Vinegar boasts an out sized trove of health benefits such that a jug of vinegar at home is easily one of the most economical and versatile elixirs you should never run out of.
And even if you’re skeptical of some of its health benefits, you certainly can’t rule out the relative safety of its use and varied non-medicinal applications. The anecdotes and preliminary evidence further supports its use.